Written by Nick Mount
Publication Date September 02, 2017
In the mid-twentieth century, Canadian literature transformed from a largely ignored trickle of books into an enormous cultural phenomenon that produced Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, Mordecai Richler, and so many others. In Arrival, acclaimed writer and critic Nick Mount answers the question: What caused the CanLit Boom?
Written with wit and panache, Arrival tells the story of Canada’s literary awakening. Interwoven with Mount’s vivid tale are enlightening mini-biographies of the people who made it happen, from superstars Leonard Cohen and Marie-Claire Blais to lesser-known lights like the troubled and impassioned Harold Sonny Ladoo. The full range of Canada’s literary boom is here: the underground exploits of the blew ointment and Tish gangs; revolutionary critical forays by highbrow academics; the blunt-force trauma of our plain-spoken backwoods poetry; and the urgent political writing that erupted from the turmoil in Quebec.
Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Arrival is a dazzling, variegated, and inspired piece of writing that helps explain how we got from there to here.
NICK MOUNT is a professor of English literature at the University of Toronto, award-winning critic, and former Fiction Editor at The Walrus. He regularly gives public talks on the arts in Canada, and has appeared on TVO’s Big Ideas and CBC Radio’s Sunday Edition. He is a two-time finalist in TVO’s Best Lecturer Competition. In 2011, he was awarded a 3M National Teaching Fellowship, the country’s highest teaching award. He lives in Toronto.
[A] quick and genuinely informative read, even for those who think they know the story [of CanLit] well. — The Toronto Star
[Arrival offers] a vivid sense of the times. . . . Hats off to Arrival for its engaging coverage of a pivotal period in Canadian letters. — Literary Review of Canada
Mount provides a textbook’s richness with a tell-all's familiarity. . . . Mount's portraits are personal and artful. — BookShelf
[A] fascinating overview of [Canadian literature] from the 1950s to the early 1980s. . . . highly entertaining . . . Mount does an excellent job in showing the roles of the different regions in so much of the country’s writing. — Georgia Straight
Arrival: The Story of CanLit . . . transform[s] our literature into a hothouse of eye-catching personalities. . . . Not only is Mount’s prose readable, but he has a Malcolm Gladwell–esque flair for mining history for little-known anecdotes. — Walrus
The most important book to be written in more than 40 years about the rise of Canadian literature . . . Arrival: The Story of CanLit brims and crackles, in equal measure, with information and energy. — Winnipeg Free Press
An excellent view of the period in question . . . Arrival will not disappoint. . . . Mount brings it all together in a fresh and compelling way. — Canadian Writers Abroad
"Mount provides a textbook’s richness with a tell-all's familiarity. . . . Mount's portraits are personal and artful." BookShelf
"[A] quick and genuinely informative read, even for those who think they know the story [of CanLit] well." The Toronto Star
"Arrival: The Story of CanLit is a fine gathering together of so many people – critics, publishers and, of course, writers — to explore and explain the eruption that took place in the 1960s and early 70s in our culture. . . . a kaleidoscope of fascinating people who shaped our country's growth into a literature respected around the world." The Globe and Mail